The Houston Rockets have a hole in the post position after Dwight Howard opted out of his contract with the team. Houston may not have to look very far to find Howard's replacement with Clint Capela.
ESPN's Zach Lowe and Marc Stein talked about the Rockets' center position and place in the free agency frenzy in the most recent edition of The Lowe Post podcast. Lowe gave his stamp of approval for the Rockets' going full-steam ahead with Capela at the No. 5 spot:
(The Rockets) are very aggressive. Capela is ready to play in Dwight's stead. He's ready to play 25-30 minutes a game, be a starting center. If he can just sort of be decent, and he will, and you can get a couple of guys who can just sort of shoot and mesh with Harden. I don't think [the Rockets are] going to be a disaster.
Lowe is building the idea of how the center position has changed in the NBA, Capela fits the role of rim protector that is job No. 1 for most centers in the current NBA. A job that Howard didn't readily accept at the end of his time with the Rockets. On top of that, removing Howard from the lane, in theory, will help the Rockets offense flow more easily.
On top of that, the Rockets have the 22-year-old center under control through the 2018-19 season. Capela's game still has room to grow. He averaged 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 18-plus minutes per game last season.
Capela does come with his drawbacks. He is an even worse free throw shooter than Howard, shooting 38 percent from the line last season. Capela hit the fatigue wall last season with his growing role with the team. If Lowe thinks the Rockets will roll with Capela, could that also mean the Rockets won't be spending much time trying to get players like Al Horford, Hassan Whiteside, Bismack Biyombo, and Ian Mahinmi?
Lowe also talked about Patrick Beverly:
Patrick Beverley is popping up a lot in trade talks. They're not trying to get nothing back for him, but they want to pair Harden with a traditional point guard, someone who can catch the ball and attack the basket.
Beverley hasn't been the ideal of offensive fit with his backcourt counterpart James Harden. Could the Rockets be clearing a spot for someone like Mike Conley? Chances are they'll try, but trading Bev without a different starting point guard already signed, or coming back in the trade, would be a mistake.